If you live or work in South Philly the biggest show in town is happening in your back yard this week!
For only second time in its almost 200-year history, the Philadelphia Flower Show will be hosted completely outdoors at FDR Park on Pattison Street just off west of Broad Street. 15 acres of the park’s green lawns and parking lots have been transformed into breathtaking exhibits, family-friendly activities and delicious food & beverage offerings. The show runs through Sunday, June 19. Purchase tickets now at phsonline.org/the-flower-show and hop on the Broad Street Line, walk, or cycle down Broad Street (drive if you must, but parking will cost you) to check out the Show!
Passyunk Post’s Sequoia Medley provides some insights into her experience at the Show below. Enjoy!
The 2022 Philadelphia Flower Show impressed me as a more sophisticated experience than the 2021 show. This show seems more in harmony with the natural landscape, while also being more artistic and lush in the displays.
Whereas 2021 felt like a street fair with floral elements, the 2022 displays are front and center once again, with the competition areas, like the Hamilton Horticourt more accessible to casual attendees and long-term devotees.
Commercial areas are nestled under the shade of towering historic trees, and there are many areas to refresh with food and drink from Brulee catering and local food trucks.
The floral enrichment of FDR park feels richer and more developed, from the entrance on Broad and Pattison, through the winding path, to the explosive, festive entrance gate and promenade.
After stopping to fill up at the provided hydration station, visitors traverse a cheerful bunting walk, to first encounter the competition arrangements and conceptual gardens, a fine introduction to the artistic focus of this years “In Full Bloom.”
The Kids Cocoon offers respite more for the young at heart than actual children. The area features the butterfly tent and many interactive art pieces, such as oversized instruments and the return of the kinetic bug sculptures by Christian Kanienberg, workshop tent, and over-sized Japanese ikebana arrangements.
A highlight is the “Smelly Tunnel,” created by the Bok Collective a collaboration of Scout, the design and development firm most well known for South Philly’s Bok building, local artist Carl Durkheim, and Sabbatical Beauty. This team project draws in visitors, inviting them to pass through a series of misting gateways, watering themselves like a flower. With cooling mist imbued with color-coordinated essential oils – lavender, citrus, and eucalyptus – the interactive work engages in all the senses, focusing on the healing power plants. Smelly Tunnel invites the child in all of us to prioritize healing and fun as visitors pass through, pose for selfies, and return to experience the sensory experience. With the past few years having people in survival mode there hasn’t been room for playfulness and fun, and Smelly Tunnel engages visitors to embrace their inner child and make casual incorporation of healing into the experience.
The most successful artistic components seem to reference flowers more than utilize them, perhaps a concession to lessons learned from the elements braved last year. Towering yarn-encased sculptures by Lace the Moon / Nicole Nikolich stand sentry to the boathouse, curated by Streets Dept.’s Conrad Brenner.
Likewise, David Rubin Land Collective has created “Embrace,” a dreamy horizontal rainbow utilizing raw strips of fabric to encircle a garden escape with curved couch. Check out the exhibit in motion.
The only floral arrangement that exceeds in scale is the behemoth at the center of the gazebo (officially called the Olmsted Pavilion). Designed by Valley Forge Flowers, the towering display is selfie-ready, but far from the bustle of the show—it’s located outside the entry gate. Be sure to visit it out on your way in—or out.
The 2022 Show encourages lingering and participation with crafts and workshops that engage visitors. There’s also an emphasis on visitor comfort and supporting local vendors—some with South Philly connections. Sang Kee, one of the vendors in the Food Bazaar area, will host three local Cambodian cooks who usually ply their wares at FDR Park’s Cambodian market.
The Food Bazaar hosts a number of food trucks from the Philadelphia region. South Philadelphians may be familiar with some of the vendors, including the vegan Algorithm Restaurants, who can also sometimes be found at brewery ARS. Algorithm utilizes Conscious Cultures Creamery vegan cheese made at Bok. Dre’s Southern Style Ice Cream operates as a traveling truck selling ice cream and water ice, but their product can also be found at the ShopRite on Oregon Ave. They hope their booth at the flower show can introduce them to more Philadelphians and allow for expansion.
For local residents wary of the ticket cost there are options – discounted tickets for members of the horticultural society, AAA adults, and SEPTA ticket sales offices. PHS is also offering a Family Fun Pack for 2 adults + 2 children with a $30 discount on the same list price for tickets. More information is available at https://phsonline.org/the-flower-show/ticket-info